£1 million for genome research into extreme obesity
Press release issued: 16 April 2008
A Bristol University genome-wide association study of extreme obesity in young adults has been awarded more than £1 million by the Wellcome Trust.
The study, led by Professor George Davey-Smith of the University’s Department of Social Medicine, won funding worth £1,055,397 from the Wellcome Trust as part of a £30 million follow-up study to the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC), the largest every study of the genetics of common disease, which brings together leading research groups from at least 60 institutions internationally (including over 20 from the UK).
The aim of the Bristol study is to identify genes that affect the risk of developing obesity. The researchers aim to compare the DNA from 2732 extremely obese individuals to 2838 individuals selected at random from two very large Danish cohorts.
The design of the study is such that the researchers will be able to detect genes of very small effect. The genotyping and initial quality control will be performed at the Centre de National de Genotypage (Paris). Statistical analyses of the genetic data will be performed at Bristol’s MRC Centre for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology by Dr David Evans who is part of the WTCCC Statistical Analysis Group, and Dr Nic Timpson who played a role in identifying one of the first genes influencing susceptibility to obesity.
The availability of several large follow-up cohorts in the UK and Denmark (for example, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), with detailed information on obesity and related features, and in which rapid genotyping can be performed, will allow effective replication and further elucidation of detected associations.
Speaking on behalf of the Bristol team, Dr Timpson said: "We are delighted to receive this award from the Wellcome Trust who have recognised the novelty of this resource. Along with our Danish collaborators, we hope to make a significant contribution with the work carried out within the bounds of this funding."